State Department Releases First Report on Holocaust Restitution, Thanks to Law From Marco Rubio, Tammy Baldwin

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., weighed after the U.S. State Department released its first report on trying to bring restitution for Holocaust-era assets.

Rubio and Baldwin have worked on the issue before. They teamed up with U.S. Reps. Chris Smith, R-NJ,  and then U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley, D-NY, to bring out the “Justice for Uncompensated Survivors Today (JUST) Act” and it was passed in 2016.  The sponsors insisted the bill  “will improve efforts to assist Holocaust survivors and the families of Holocaust victims by requiring the State Department to report on the progress of certain European countries on the return of (or restitution for), wrongfully confiscated or transferred Holocaust-era assets.” The new State Department report is the first one authorized by their law.

“Restitution for those individuals whose property was seized during the Holocaust is long overdue,” Rubio said on Wednesday. “This important report details the progress of countries in meeting their commitments to Holocaust survivors and their families. We must continue to press our friends and allies in Europe and ensure survivors are provided the justice they deserve and are able to live out their days in dignity.”

“This critical report details the important steps being taken toward justice, at long last, for Holocaust survivors and the families of Holocaust victims,” Baldwin said. “These individuals have waited far too long to recover, or receive compensation for, what is rightfully theirs. By highlighting this issue as an American foreign policy priority and recognizing that there is still more work to do, we will spur further action in countries that are falling short of their obligations to bring about justice for Holocaust survivors, victims, and their families.”

The legislation continued efforts from the Terezin Declaration on Holocaust Era Assets and Related Issues of 2009 which “affirms that the protection of property rights is an essential component of a democratic society based on the rule of law and recognizes the importance of restituting or compensating Holocaust-related confiscations made during the Holocaust-era between 1933-45“ and had the State Department report on how Central and Eastern European counties are complying with those efforts.

The full report, which is more than 200 pages, can be read here.


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